Regina Mills stood impeccably in her form fitting light grey office skirt and shoulder-hugging magenta colored blouse, again with a straining button between her breasts. With her hands behind her back, she gazed out at the shimmering pool and the Storybrooke residents who were having the time of their lives, splashing around in it.
Since the city had approved the large public pool facility, everyone had been so excited to be able to spend the hot Maine summers there. Regina had been a big part of its planning as well, listing off what she thought they should have.
There was the main pool, divided length wise in two by a white buoy rope, one side was for play and the other side had extra lanes for serious swimmers. Surrounding the sides of the pool were large wide tiered wooden decks, broad enough so that people could either sit on beach chairs or lie out on a towel.
Beyond the main pool was a “kiddie” pool that was no deeper than 3 feet and next to that a patch of grass beside a small round wading pool for toddlers. And for avid divers, there was the small, yet deep diving pool with a standard height spring board and a higher diving platform beside it.
“Hi there, mayor. Where’s your suit?” Granny had stepped up beside her in a black one piece that while modest and age appropriate for someone the elderly werewolf’s age, it showed off more skin than Regina was used to seeing from her.
“I’m not here to swim, Widow Lucas.”
“Just checking to see how the peasants are enjoying your creation?” Looking over she spotted the humor in Granny’s face and she smiled.
The younger woman continued the line of jesting and quipped, “Certainly. A queen likes to know that her subjects are happy.”
The older woman snorted and looked her up and down. The woman had changed irrefutably from the tyrannical ruler she had been in the Enchanted Forest and everyone knew who was responsible for that, or rather the two whos who were responsible.
For the first time that she could ever remember, Granny’s distrustful wall that was usually up around Regina Mills had finally crumbled and she smiled.
“I saw Henry in the diving pool moments ago. The boy swims like a fish.”
Regina puffed her chest out like the proud mother that she was. Insisting on swimming lessons for him when he was still very young, she was rather pleased that he liked to swim. It was really with him in the back of her mind that Storybrooke’s first public pool was created.
“He’s always loved to swim.”
A beat of silence passed between the two women and Granny spoke up, “Well I’m going to work on my tan. No one wants to see this werewolf’s pasty white ass.”
Regina's brow crinkled and she opened her mouth with a sassy retort but held back. She bit a smile at herself and shook her head unaware to the woman readjusting the large towel draped over her arm and the bottle of sun lotion in her hand.
“Yes, well… don’t burn.” That felt odd coming out of her mouth. It still amazed her that she was friends with these people now. Friends, hmm.
“If you’re looking for Snow, she’s over there.” Granny pointed to the third tier up on the sunbathing bleachers, near the shallow end of the main pool and she found Mary Margaret and David, taking in the sun’s rays, bodies glistening with lotion and laughing to each other.
With grace and style Regina walked carefully, her heels sounding on the cement and smiling at those who waved and greeted her.
“Hi Mayor Mills! Thanks for the pool. It’s totally cool,” a ten year old girl exclaimed passing by in a brightly colored batching suit. “I saw Ms. Blanchard and Sheriff Nolan sitting over there.”
“Hey Regina! This was a great idea. It’s just too hot during the summer.” Leroy said from inside the pool. Regina mused that she had never seen the man without his hat and laughed silently to herself that the hair he lacked on the top of his head was made up by all the hair covering his body.
“Glad you’re enjoying it.”
“If you’re looking for Mary Margaret, she’s over there.”
”Thank you,” she said clearly entertained now.
She ascended up an aisle of concrete stairs and excused herself to sunbathers who greeted her also pointing out where Mary Margaret was sitting.
“Regina,” Snow greeted behind rounded dark sunglasses but she imagined that the large happy grin the woman wore reached her eyes. “Only you would wear Italian leather spiked heeled pumps to a pool.”
David nodded in greeting, eyed Regina’s shoes and shook his head at the newcomer.
Regina ignored them, hunkered down, in a ladylike manner, to sit at the edge of the deck and quipped immediately to her former enemies. “Amazing… An age ago, I couldn’t get these people to tell me where you were. Now, everyone can't stop pointing you out to me.”
“That’s because you’re one of us now, Regina.” David expressed with an eye wiggle. “You’re a hero, a good guy…”
The former Evil Queen interrupted him with a feigned wheezing gasp and a palm held up, “Please… No more insults. I beg of you.”
“I always knew there was good in you,” Mary Margaret beamed.
As usual, comments such as these always made Regina feel uncomfortable. She chose not to really think of the past; there was nothing one could do about it anyway, but she knew that everything she had done gave her Henry. She would never be sorry for that. But she would also never accept the title of hero. She knew that it would never sit well with her after the life she had led. Her son. He was a hero and she couldn't be more proud of him.
She looked to the high dive platform just in time to see Henry leap off the edge and into a perfect jack-knife dive, entering the water with a minimal amount of splash.
“He really is magnificent, isn’t he?” Regina couldn’t hide parental admiration in her tone and Mary Margaret aimed a soft look at her, fully understanding now the pride one would feel in one’s own children.
“Of course he is,” David fingered his aviator style sunglass up the bridge of his nose. “Just like his grandpa.” Both Regina and Mary Margaret rolled their eyes and groaned good-naturedly.
Regina basked in the contentment of the fresh air, the warmth of the sun and the sounds of fun: children laughing and water splashing.
“So where’s Neal?”
Mary Margaret looked over her shoulder and gestured, “He’s in the kiddie pool with his big sister.”
Regina placed an extended hand over her eyes to shield them from the sun and saw little Neal being raised up in the arms of a blonde, with her hair up. All Regina could see was the back of the woman’s head, because she was sitting against the edge, and those arms when they held Neal up in the air. Regina would know those arms anywhere. Traipsing all through Neverland, the only highlight to keep the worry for Henry at bay was Emma Swan’s strong, gorgeously toned arms. Frankly she was surprised to have never been caught ogling them as she surprised herself at how often she had stared at them, but she couldn’t help it. The savior had ridiculously sexy arms! She had wondered sometimes what it would feel like to be in those arms; when they weren’t fighting or saving one another.
She was so lost in her thoughts, staring at the toes of her shoes, that she didn’t realized that Emma had left the pool and was walking toward them until David piped up. “There are my kids!”
When Regina’s gaze lifted, her heart slammed into the wall of her chest. Carrying her baby brother, Emma Swan strolled up the steps in a yellow bikini and Regina became slack jawed, her lips parting with a befuddling expression. She felt strong coconut scented fingers under her chin closing her mouth and she swatted David’s audacious hand away with a menacing glare.
He winked at her in reply and shocked her by jibing quietly for her ears only, “Is this Neverland all over again?”
Did her face pale, she wondered, because it felt like all the blood had drained from it. Regina gathered herself quickly enough as Emma reached them and lowered the baby into David’s arms. She turned her head toward Regina and their eyes met and held and Emma smiled brightly at her. “Hi.”
She felt a tremor roll through her body by that one word and a flash of dimples and Regina swore inwardly that the reaction was doltish but she smiled back and offered, “Hello,” in return.
“You cut your hair.” Emma tilted her head inspecting it from different angles.
“Yes. It was time. I missed it short.”
“It reminds me of when Mom and I returned from the Enchanted Forest. When you unblocked the portal.”
“Yes.” She smiled. “That’s what your mother said yesterday when she saw it.” Feeling like a specimen in a jar under scrutinizing eyes suddenly, the mayor gestured around. “Everyone seems to be having a wonderful time.”
“You did good, Regina.”
“I didn’t do anything really.”
Emma chortled stepping down a level and taking a seat next to the brunette, their bodies almost touching. “No. You only approved the budget for building it, made suggestions on the design and oversaw the construction.” Emma did the unexpected and nudged the older woman’s knee with her own. “Yeah, you didn’t do much.”
Regina attractively eyed the blonde’s mocking face for a moment and stared out at the pool in front of her.
“Well…” Regina blushed slightly and directed her gaze at their son who just got out of the diving pool. “I did it for Henry.”
“You do a lot for Henry, Regina.” The brunette’s gaze faltered minutely but it stayed on their son as she was afraid to address the sincerity in the blonde’s tone. “I’m really lucky you adopted him.”
As soon as the words were out, Emma knew that she meant them. She’d never said it out loud before, but when Regina scanned her face for sincerity and found it, her eyes softened and warmed and Emma could feel her insides melting in their gaze. The corners of Regina’s full lips tilted up and Emma could not believe that in an area filled with scantily clad hard, toned bodies the sexiest person at the pool was the woman fully dressed like she was going to work.
“Hi Mom,” Henry waved to Regina shaking his shaggy head of hair with all the grace of a wet dog.
“Henry,” she greeted with delight in her tone. Happiness just made Regina’s voice sexier, Emma thought. Oh God! I have got it bad for my son’s other mom!
She was chewing on her bottom lip with her blonde eyebrows in a frown, when a couple of girls in Henry’s class passed him by with a flirtatious and melodic greeting, “Hi Henry…”
He turned and nodded and continued to ogle their sashaying bikini bodies as they walked away but not before giving him that one last look. Emma rolled her eyes but she suddenly felt Regina clutching at her hand and she realized it as a reflex. Being as intelligent and clever as Regina was at magic, politics, strategy, hell, practically everything, she might not have noticed things a little closer to home, which would be that Henry was reaching an age where girls were starting to take an interest in him.
“Emma,” she uttered under her breath. “I’m not ready.”
The blonde mother forced her laugh down by clearing her throat and clasping Regina’s hand in her own. “It’s okay, Regina. It’s okay. They’re 14 year old girls. They are not dangerous.”
“But he’s…” Regina glanced at her and the younger mom knew she shouldn’t find that look of panic so adorable. “… he’s our…” a smile spread across the older woman's lips realizing how foolish she must sound. “…baby.” She sighed and her hand relaxed but Emma didn't want to let go yet.
“That’s a baby,” Emma pointed at Neal and then she pointed at Henry, who was still making googley eye contact with the girls. “That is a pubescent pain in the ass. Just wait. We have arguments about curfew, wanting to borrow the car and not questioning his long showers to look forward to.”
Regina visibly turned white as a sheet and Emma did laugh then. “Breathe, Regina, breathe.” Why did she have this instant craving to kiss the mayor senseless right now?
Some color returned and Regina shook her head and chuckled silently. “I should have expected this day would come.”
“Well, now, you don’t have to do it alone. You have someone to share the responsibility with. I’m your partner.” She was met with an eye-shocked expression and Emma added, “…in raising the kid. I’m here. We’re his parents, Regina.”
Appreciation flit quickly across the older woman’s face and was replaced by relief and gladness. Their focus was locked on each other and then Regina flushed and her eyes rested on their joined hands.
Emma knew gratitude was a hard thing for the Queen to show anyone so when she felt the brief squeeze of her hand it was obvious that Regina was thanking her for being there and then just as quickly the brunette let go.
“Well, I think my little man and me…” Mary Margaret started as she grabbed Neal from his Daddy’s arms, “...are going to meet Ashley and Alexandra and Aurora and Phillip Jr over there on the lawn for an impromptu Mommy and Me visit.”
“Good idea,” Her husband agreed and eyed a love struck Henry. He bent and said secretly to the two women sitting down in front of him, “… and I am going to wage a water war with my grandson.” He got up from his camping chair and joked with Regina, “You can occupy my throne in my absence, Your Majesty.” Regina snorted at him and then yelped, drawing some attention as he lifted her by her under arms, as if she were a sack of potatoes, and set her on her feet beside him as he said, “…and you may also munch on my corn chips.” Emma was busy making funny faces at her brother as her mom and Neal stood in front of her, so David leaned in and whispered behind his hand with a head gesture below to his daughter. “Unless you have an appetite for something else. And if you do, Snow and I want to go on record as being totally for it.”
Regina’s eyes widened and snapped to Mary Margaret who, unbeknownst to Emma, tipped her sunglasses down to give Regina a wink.
The Queen silently sputtered looking between the two idiots, smiling smugly at her.
Emma kissed her baby brother’s forehead and watched the three of them walk down the aisle of steps and then separate. Her mother headed off to meet her friends and her dad approached Henry with a mischievous look in his eye.
“Grandpa, no!” But the teen was cackling in fun and she looked up at Regina, who had taken a seat in David’s chair and was watching with amusement. Together they both witnessed David charge and the two wrestled until David tackled him and they both fell into the pool. The joyful sound of Regina’s chuckling was infectious and enticing. Shaking her head, Regina joked, “Your father’s a menace.”
“Well then, it’s a good thing that he’s on the Sheriff’s payroll where I can keep an eye on him.”
They fell silent after politely snickering at the joke. Emma watched the mayor twiddle her fingers looking around. They both spoke at once and then became quiet. Suddenly it was like a light bulb had gone off over the blonde’s head and, with a naughty raise of an eyebrow, she reached into her bag and took out her sun block.
“Hey, Regina? Do you mind?” She purposely offered the woman her back and the plastic tube, not seeing the brunette’s petrified expression.
“What?” Regina sat stock still, folded hands in her lap.
The blonde wiggled the tube over her shoulder demanding the mayor to take it. “Could you rub some lotion on my back and shoulders? I don’t want to burn.”
“You look fine,” the woman responded flatly and Emma tried to hide her delight but eventually she smiled anyway. It didn’t matter because the older woman couldn’t see her. Regina was afraid to touch her and she was utterly gleeful at that. She shook the tube in her fingers again and felt it hesitantly leave her grip.
Regina looked at the bottle in her hand as if it was going to grow a pair of lips and start talking to her. Looking around, seeing that no one was paying them any attention, she flipped the cap open, smelled the tropical scented lotion and added some to her fingers. There she was. Regina Mills, with her hands hovering over the savior’s back. She took a deep breath and on the exhale nearly slapped the woman with her hands.
“Ow…” Emma giggled and joked. “Soft touch there, Your Eminence.”
“Oh, shut up.”
The blonde’s smooth skin was warm to the touch from the sun and Regina noticed the smattering of freckles here and there, which endeared the woman even more to her. What had started as quick swipes eventually became thorough strokes and caresses. In time, Regina found herself kneading the younger woman’s shoulders and massaging her neck with a tantalizing smile on her face.
This had begun as a joke, Emma thought; a way to rattle Regina, but the joke was on her because her body began to betray her. Her nipples firmed into hardened points and her arousal pooled against her bikini bottoms. If they were the only two there right now, Emma was certain she would turn around, spread Regina’s legs apart, moving herself in between them , and she would have brought their lips together so that she could finally satisfy her curiosity and discover what the inside of Regina Mills’ mouth tasted like.
A lusty moan escaped her lips and her eyes flew open when she felt the woman behind her bristle. She turned to find Regina leaning away and rubbing the left over lotion on her hands with finality and she wanted to cry out, Wait, no! Don’t go! All that came out, as she placed a hand on Regina’s thigh was “Don’t run.”
“Excuse me?” Now she had done it. Those brown eyes became wary and pegged her with a curious yet slightly formidable look. Emma realized that there was nothing she could do but be absolutely honest.
“You want me.” Emma smirked smugly.
The mayor’s eyes narrowed into slits, “Is that right?”
“Yes,” Emma squeezed her leg seductively and even though she tried to hide it, Emma could see that Regina was affected. “And I want you too.”
Surprise stole across the brunette’s face followed by pleasure but then replaced with apprehension. She gulped and spied Henry sending water barreling at his grandfather’s face and David in turn launching water at the boy by squeezing his hands together, a makeshift water gun. “Oh Emma…”
Regina stood up, smoothed her skirt out and walked to the stairs with Emma giving chase. “Regina, wait!” The blonde caught up to her by the middle of the pool, pulling on her elbow. She stared behind the queen at the sparkling chlorine scented water trying to gather her thoughts. “I want to go out with you.” Shaking her head suddenly, the sheriff corrected, “Not as friends either. As… more…” The brunette was looking everywhere but at her. “Regina, do you know what I am saying?”
“Of course. I’m not an imbecile.” Regina fixedly glared at Emma and continued, “You want to pursue a sexual relationship with me.”
“Okay… so you’re only half an imbecile,” she delivered a charming grin and Regina snorted. “I totally want to have sex with you.” Emma began babbling. “I want to have sex with you right now in fact. I mean you do realize that you are the sexiest woman here and you’re not even wearing a bathing suit.”
“I so want to get under your skirt right now, it’s not even funny.” Regina’s eyes flared in excitement and she shook her head slowly at the boldness of her sheriff presently. If this is what she had to look forward to, why was she hesitating? She heard Henry blurt out his excitement. Oh yes. “I not only want a sexual relationship with you, Regina, but a romantic one as well. I want to go out to dinner with you and hold your hand and do all the sappy stuff that couples do. With you.”
“Emma, it’s more than just us.” Regina was so disappointed with what she was going to say, but reason needed to be expressed here. “What about Henry?”
The younger woman blinked and sighed. “Well of course he can come to dinners too, but don’t you think he’s kind of old to hold our hands walking down the street? I mean, you know, maybe a few years ago, but…”
Regina frowned and laughed at her. “No.” She sighed in exasperation. The blonde was just too much sometimes… in an adorable way. “We have Henry to think about if a relationship between us doesn’t work out.”
“What? We haven’t even started yet and you’re already finishing us.”
“No, I’m thinking about this rationally?”
“No, you’re not. Look don’t blame Henry. If you’re scared of being in a relationship with a woman, me, whatever, just admit it.”
Regina looked offended. “It has nothing to do with that. That doesn’t matter to me.”
“Are you scared what people might think?”
“Emma, have I ever cared what these people think? Besides, dating you wouldn’t be the worst thing I had ever done,” and then the brunette kidded, “…though it might be the silliest.”
And just like that they were smiling and staring at each other so that they didn’t see Leroy running towards them, “CANNONBALL!!!” The stout hairy dwarf jumped off the edge, clutching his knees to his chest, and sank into the pool right in front of them causing an enormous wave of water to splash Regina’s back.
Reactively, she lurched forward and straight into Emma’s arms. They stood there hugging each other as Regina got over her initial shock, but no one in that moment was happier than Emma. With hands on the blonde’s shoulders she tried to separate herself but could only go as far away as the savior let her; Emma’s arms remained clasped around her waist.
Their eyes met and Emma challenged, “Kiss me. Here. I dare you.”
Her resistance waning, Regina murmured. “I can’t lose you, Emma. Not if it doesn’t work out.”
Chuckling, the Sheriff asked, “How could it not work out?” At Regina’s incredulous look she went on, “Regina, what could we possibly do to each other that we haven’t done already to drive each other apart?”
The queen opened her mouth but was speechless.
“You’ve tried to poison me. I’ve held a knife to your throat. We’ve punched each other. You’ve sent me hurtling through the air onto my back. We’ve both used Henry to hurt one another. The way I see it, we’ve already done all the worst we could do to each other and we’re still here.” She suddenly gave Regina a naughty look. “Now, what we haven’t done to each other yet…” She splayed her hands across Regina’s back and surely people must have noticed that there was more to this embrace than escaping an accidental dwarf induced tsunami. “We haven’t kissed each other… or touched one another… or made love to one another… or squirmed in each other’s arms until we just can’t take it anymore.”
Regina groaned and her head fell to Emma’s shoulder and the savior knew she had this one in the bag. She was going to make this work between them. No excuses.
“I don’t think any one of those things is going to break us up. Quite the opposite, actually. Don’t you think?”
Regina just nodded against her shoulder and inhaled deeply. The woman not only made a compelling argument, but Regina realized that she didn’t want to fight it anymore. Her lips quirked and her eyes shined when she looked at Emma. “You do realize that I am going to be a handful.”
“I’ll be no walk in the park either.”
They chuckled. The Queen looked at her lips then and licked her own and grinned wickedly. “So you want me, you say?”
Emma’s heart began to beat faster and her lips parted, “Uh huh.”
Regina reached behind her, grabbed Emma’s hand from its hold on her and pulled her urgently behind her with a serious expression on her face.
“Oh no,” someone whispered to her husband. “That doesn’t look good.” He nodded in agreement.
Over on the other side of the pool, Mary Margaret watched with Ashley and Aurora.
“Regina looks really upset, Mary Margaret,” Aurora said.
“She looks like she could spit fire!” Ashley groaned.
Mary Margaret shrugged a shoulder nonchalantly and baby-talked to her son, “Your sister’s got this. Yes, she does.” Aurora and Ashley shared a knowing look. “She and Auntie Regina just needed a little nudge.”
“Hey, Mary Margaret,” Leroy boomed about 10 feet away. “How was that?”
“That was perfect, Leroy! Thanks!”